Easter exertions ease Hemel into 11thas form against better sides continues
Hemel Town's Easter break saw them claim four points from two games in the space of just four days.
The Tudors took a solid point on the road at fifth-placed Poole Town on Good Friday before returning from this 230-mile round-trip to register a 2-0 win over sixth-placed Hungerford Town on Easter Monday at Vauxhall Road.
It saw Hemel continue their trend this season of being a troublesome opponent to the National League South’s better sides.
Easter Monday’s win saw second-half goals from Tony Diagne just six minutes after the re-start and young Ben Greenhalgh five minutes from the end.
The long weekend’s exert ions moved Hemel up to 11th place in the league table and just a point behind local rivals St Albans in 10th.
The match with Poole was played in front of a bumper holiday crowd.
The hosts had only lost one of their last five while Hemel had only one win to show for their previous six outings.
Poole are in the playoff places but might be unable to compete in the post-season due to stadium regulations, a decision they plan to appeal.
A controlling first-half from the hosts should have given them a commanding position but for a lack of end-product.
Hemel keeper Jamie Butler was rarely tested in the opening quarter of an hour, as Hemel grew into the game.
They were gifted an inroad into the game when a quick counter-attack saw the Dolphins’ defence exposed, forcing Nick Hutchings to fly out of his goal to prevent Rodell Gordon an opportunity to score. Initially winning the ball, Poole’s keeper hacked it away for a throw-in, which was quickly taken by Gordon.
He caught Poole’s defence off-guard for a second time, as the home side failed to close down Greenhalgh. His ambitious effort was perfectly executed, as he lofted the ball past Hutchings, who was inches away from making a miracle save.
The shock goal shunned the home fans into silence but six minutes after the opener, Poole restored parity.
Luke Burbidge hit a Marvin Brooks lay-off first time on the volley for a fine strike that nestled into the bottom left hand corner to equalise.
A combination of resilient defending and poor finishing saw Hemel hold out until the half-time break.
An early snapshot in the second half saw Greenhalgh smack the bar, but that early effort was one of few highlights in the entire second period.
Hemel cleared a glancing header off of the line, but that was as close as either side came in pursuit of a winner.
In a rare occurrence, the man in the middle had to replaced after 80 minutes.
A long stoppage of play saw referee Robert Massey-Ellis limp off with injury, prompting the promotion of one of his assistants while Poole’s kitman was then brought in to run the line for the final 10 minutes.
A glorious chance fell for Poole late on, but Butler and a Tudors defender cleared the ball off the line, enabling Hemel to hold on and share the spoils.
Next up for the Tudors in their penultimate game of the season is a trip to Cornwall this Saturday to face 19th-place Truro City, who are fighting for their National League South lives, lying just outside the relegation places by a two-point margin.